Dalia Varto and Neeroda Hasam Sheikhi are in the first group of students in the Fast-Track Programme. They recently completed the first step in getting their Swedish teaching accreditation.
For over six months they have studied, through both practice and theory, subjects such as Swedish school law, organisation, governance, values, equality, conflict management, learning, and leadership in education.
“The programme has been very interesting and useful,” says Dalia Varto (to the right). She came to Sweden as a refugee from Syria three years ago. In Syria she was a trained Arabic teacher. Now her aim is to get Swedish accreditation in one year, so she can also teach Swedish as a second language.
Neeroda Hasam Sheikhi (below), also originally from Syria, has an Iraqi university degree in English literature. He has been in Sweden for almost two years, and his goal is also teaching accreditation, possibly specialising in languages:
“I love languages and during my time here, in the Fast-Track Programme, I did work experience at a senior secondary school, which I really enjoyed.”
More groups are on the way
Linköping University, along with five other Swedish universities, was assigned by the government to set up fast-track training for recently arrived teachers. Åsa Larsson is in charge of the programme at LiU:
“The idea is that the Fast-Track Programme will help people with a teaching degree from abroad get working in our schools more quickly. They do work experience twice a week, which means they establish contact with the Swedish school system at an early stage.”
The first group of 27 students has just finished, and more groups are on the way. A course with 33 students finishes in May, and another one starts in August. Åsa Larsson says that demand is high.
“The participants are extremely ambitious; they’re really eager to work as teachers again.”
Not a shortcut
She feels the Fast-Track Programme works well.
“It’s not a shortcut – the requirements are the same as for the other students. The theoretical instruction has been mostly in Swedish; some has been in Arabic. And several schools are interested in having the students for work experience; many now have Arabic-speaking pupils.”
The biggest obstacle for the students is the Swedish language; it takes time to learn. But most participants from the first group have already got jobs. For instance they can work as substitute teachers or teacher’s assistants. Dalia Varto expects to start work very soon, as a mother tongue teacher, parallel with her teacher’s training. Neeroda Hasam Sheikhi is also optimistic:
“I’m going to keep studying Swedish, and hope to find a part-time job. I’ll get my accreditation eventually.”
Photo: Peter Modin